The Nervous Pig
THE NERVOUS PIG
BY SUSAN GLASPELL
IF you were writing a book on the comparative civilizations of ancient and modern India, how would you like to have a young woman come bounding up to your window to tell you that the neighbor's pig had eight little pigs?
Horace Caldwell was displeased by the information; not so much by the information as by the method and time of acquiring it. He suspended his pen over the half-written word "indigent" (he had taken great pleasure in writing it, as it was so precisely the word) and looked at the head of Vivian Truce, which vibrated there above the window-box as though it were a flower above the flowers. He did not want to think of the comparative beauties of Vivian's face and nasturtiums; he wanted to think of the comparative attitudes toward women of ancient and modern Hindus. That was the trouble with Vivian. She took you from the thing you wanted to be thinking.
"Eight!" she squealed.
"Eight?" he repeated, helplessly, for the wind played lightly with her hair and through the nasturtium leaves—she made the Hindus remote. That was the trouble with her. She made things remote.
"Eight," she said again, and her hands came up and fluttered with the leaves—fluttering Sanskrit back into obscurity!
"Eight," he announced after her, as if to let her know he was quite aware of the number of pigs the neighbor's pig had had. She continued to stand there, letting the breeze try this and that with her hair. "Well," he added, severely pushing back his own hair, as if in rebuke to all hair, "isn't that all right?"
Her nose went down into a nasturtium; and while her nose smelled the flower her eyes regarded him. "Why, yes," she finally assured him, "it's quite all right." She again regarded him—laughed as if there were something to laugh at—was gone.
Mr. Caldwell did not enjoy finishing the word "indigent." The neighbor's pig had eight little pigs. Naturally, she would have eight little pigs—or thereabouts. Why need this stand between him and an old and beautiful civilization? He kept looking at the window-box. Nasturtiums were not much, after all.
And then he heard Vivian within the house, telling his sister what she had told him—a little less exuberantly, excitement having lost its flush in the first telling. Still, there was enough left; Vivian could lose a good deal of exuberance and still have enough left. "Gertrude," she was saying, "what do you think? Mr. Moon's pig has eight little pigs?"
"No! Not really?" rejoined Gertrude—why in the world did they act as though it were something so extraordinary?
Though with Gertrude nothing was extraordinary for long. "Vivian," he heard her say, "I'm thinking of having this room done over. Do you think a lavender—" Then they moved into the room, thank Heaven, and he no longer heard them.
Poor Vivian—no one was properly excited. The neighbor's pig might have eighty little pigs, and if Gertrude was thinking of turning a green bedspread lavender, eighty little pigs would be nothing to her. "All the wonders of the world would never take Gertrude out of that house. At least Vivian wasn't that way.
But thinking of the way Vivian wasn't made him think of the way Vivian was. He moved impatiently and ran his hand back through his hair with indignation. So far no word had followed "indigent." And the word that finally came did not follow "indigent." It was written at the side. It was "volatile." He waited a little while and then he wrote down "emotional." This made him feel better, as if to assure himself his interest in Vivian was a purely scientific one, and, having pigeonholed her, he could now keep her out of the way. He would get the book he wanted from the library, then settle down. But as he passed through the hall:
"Horace," called Gertrude, as one who imparts a pleasant bit of news, "Mr. Moon's pig has eight little pigs."
"I know it," snapped Horace. He heard a laugh—Vivian's!
He went back and wrote some very severe things about the women who had once lived in India. Women never had been—what they should be!
But by evening it pleased him to be satiric. When his brother-in-law, getting home from the city, drove up to the door, Horace rose from his place on the veranda and called, excitedly: "Ben! Ben! What do you think? Mr. Moon's pig has eight little pigs!"
Ben appeared rather astonished at such a greeting from this source, but, being a business man, he was prepared to adjust himself to anything. "Eight little pigs?" he replied. "Well, it's always nice to see things moving on!" Then he spoke of the price of pork.
But the news they gave Ben that night was as nothing to the news they had for him the next night.
In the afternoon Horace went with Vivian to see the little pigs. That is, they started for a walk, and Vivian proposed they stop and visit the pigs. She said the little pigs were just too darling. "Just too darling" was for Horace a new attitude toward pigs, but he smiled tolerantly upon Vivian, who in her bright sweater and gay woolly skirt was enough to make even a student of India smile. Mr. Caldwell was feeling in the best of spirits. He had had a good morning's work and he quite approved of giving himself this pleasure of a tramp over the hills with Vivian. It was a part of his program to take walks. One worked the better for them.
But when they got to the back of Mr. Moon's house they found something going on which was not part of any one's program—one of those mad things which knock programs over.
Mr. Moon was running round and round the pigsty with a pitchfork. He jabbed the air wildly with the pitch-fork; he jabbed it also with wild words, "Gol-darn fool!" and words yet wilder.
"Why, Mr. Moon!" cried Vivian, running up, "what are you doing to the pigs?"
"What am I doin' to the pigs?" retorted the outraged Moon. "What's she doin' to the pigs!" And he stabbed his pitchfork toward the mother pig as if to run her through. "Ask her!" he went on in fury. "Ask her where's her eighth little pig!"
"Well," asked Vivian, "where is it?"
"In her belly," replied Mr. Moon, terse if not elegant.
Vivian's mind seemed unequal to grasping the extraordinary sequence of events required to bring the eighth little pig to the place where Mr. Moon said it was. To tell the truth, this was likewise true of Mr. Caldwell's mind, so when Vivian gasped, "She ate it?" it came to him with a shock that that was what had happened.
"She ate it," asserted Mr. Moon. "Ate the pig she bore! That's the kind of a sow she is."
"I didn't know they ate them," said Mr. Caldwell, speaking of it as a phenomenon.
"And so they don't," said the raiser of pigs, with less scientific detachment; "not them that has sense. But her. That pig." He waved his pitchfork around her—violent and ineffectual.
All this while the seven uneaten pigs were squealing. When seven little pigs squeal at once there is a large volume of discordant sound.
"Shut up!" cried Mr. Moon, turning the pitchfork on the air above the little pigs. "You want to be inside? Keep your mouths shut—or go back to the belly you came from!"
Vivian stepped back, shocked, but Horace was pleased by the phrase. It had violence; there was blood in it; it was of the earth—somehow of the race. "Back to the belly you came from!" He didn't know whether it was bitter or largely soothing.
But Vivian was thinking of the pig. "But, Mr. Moon," she asked, "why did she eat her own little pig?"
"Ask her," replied Mr. Moon. As Vivian did not do this, "She's nervous," he said for the pig.
The pig stirred—so did the pitchfork. "I think that pitchfork makes her nervous," ventured Vivian.
"That pitchfork is here to make her quit such foolishness," and he was as menacing as if addressing all females with nerves.
One little pig began squealing anew; six other little pigs took it up.
"Listen to them!" he cried, transferring his wrath and his pitchfork. "Wouldn't they make you nervous?" and here with swift unreasonableness his ire shifted to Vivian. "Squealin' for food from the minute they strike the air!"
"Strike the air" also had scope—and gave Horace things to ponder. But Vivian kept thinking of the pigs. While Mr. Moon was barricading the little pigs from their mother, Vivian turned upon her companion eyes live with feeling. "But how terrible!" she breathed.
It was not terrible at that moment to look at Vivian. This was one of her moments which had made Horace write on the margin, "emotional." In such moments her eyes were darker and deeper and, in fact, rather wonderful.
She took it for granted that he, too, would think it terrible, so he disclosed no other feeling, though his own reaction to this defeat of mother-love by mother-nerves was not in truth an emotional one. For that matter, he did not think highly of emotional reactions—even though he did think highly of what those reactions made of Vivian's eyes.
He now followed those eyes to the faithless mother pig. She was still fretted by the squealing of her seven little pigs, but she had the look of one who is not, after all, unsustained. In her rolling eye was a light which seemed to say there was one perfect little pig. There was one little pig who was still; she knew just where he was.
That night, instead of going to sleep or instead of reading Sanskrit, Mr. Caldwell kept saying, "This little pig went to market; this little pig stayed home; this little pig—" What was it he had? Whatever it was, of it the next little pig had none.
Even Gertrude had been wrought up about the pig. She was strongly of the opinion that such things shouldn't be allowed. It was no way for a mother to act. No, not even a nervous mother—though she admitted mothers had enough to make them nervous. Ben said it was fortunate most sows weren't so highly strung—for pigs were too valuable to be eaten by other pigs. Vivian—Vivian said little. Sometimes she said, "It's so terrible!" and her eyes—well, Vivian was emotional—not a doubt of that.
The pig who ate her little pig turned Mr. Caldwell to reflections on life. As a matter of fact, he hadn't reflected much on life, for he had always been studying some particular thing. Of course, he was studying the particular thing in order to—well, in order to deepen his knowledge of life and therefore his understanding of it, but he had always been too engrossed in that particular thing to—to get out of it to life. He was terribly wary of life as a thing that would take him away from the thing he was studying. This fear made him nervous. He admitted now that he was nervous. And the pig was nervous. That he and the pig should be the same thing somehow interfered with Mr. Caldwell's segregation, drawing him into that main body of life from which he was holding away in order to pursue the studies that would—well, that would deepen his understanding of life. He thumped his pillow. He told himself to go to sleep. If there was anything more ridiculous than a nervous pig, it was a nervous man! He was determined to stop thinking, for there was something there he'd think if he went on thinking. He knew it was there; he could fairly smell it—as a cat a mouse. Only he didn't know just what it was—and he didn't want to know! With great persistency he turned his thoughts to his sister Gertrude. Confound that pig! What did she mean by making him turn and look at people's lives like this? It was Vivian had brought this down upon him—bringing pigs into the house, so to speak. She was an interfering person—Vivian. But he didn't want to think of Vivian, either. He made another determined lunge at Gertrude. It was rather entertaining—what the pig made him think about Gertrude. He'd tell her!
But he didn't want to say anything to Gertrude until after he had done his day's work, for it might start a discussion that would not be good for the day's work. He decided he wouldn't say anything to her, and yet he somehow knew he would—vaguely knew that his decision had nothing to do with it. What was the matter with him—he who had always been so perfectly controlled in his thinking!
At the very instant that he was telling himself to get right into work, "Gertrude," said he, "why do you have this house?"
Gertrude stared, finished fixing her egg, then said, "What a silly question!"
"Can you answer it?"
"I certainly can."
Again she stared at him. "What's the matter with you, Horace?"
"Well, I have the house to live in, of course."
He leaned forward. "Then why—" But Vivian was there, too—having the manner of leaning forward, whether doing so or not. He would not get into a discussion. A discussion that might—Heavens!—get emotional. He had work to . . . Quite indignant at whatever power it was that seemed expecting him to sit there and discuss life with two women, he rose and without his second cup of coffee shut himself up with the ancient Hindus.
He was harassed by a fear that things not ancient would come in at the window—as yesterday; harassed by a fear that she would, and beset by the fear that she wouldn't. Over by the roses he could hear a voice—not ancient. He would raise his eyes from time to time to the box of nasturtiums—but only nasturtiums fluttered there. But he had a well-disciplined mind—how did men exist who hadn't?—and so, despite it all (he didn't stop to classify "all"), he had a good day's work, and of this he was proud—as of something achieved against odds.
It was then, of course, quite reasonable to go walking with Vivian that afternoon. And when she said, in a laughing voice brushed with tenderness, "Don't you think we should stop and see the little pigs?" he responded, gaily, "I wonder how many will be there?" She said, softly, "Oh don't!" and he had the pleasantly indulgent feeling of the male for the emotional female.
Seven were there—and playing tag. "Oh, you happy little things!" cried Vivian. Solicitously she addressed the mother pig, "And you feel lots better, don't you?"
"Guess she's done all she's a-goin' to do," answered Mr. Moon, for the pig.
"Oh yes, I think so, too," agreed Vivian, in an all's-well-with-the-world voice.
"Probably it didn't agree with her, anyhow," added Moon.
"Oh!" shuddered Vivian. She turned to Horace. "Shall we go?"—turned to him as to one who would take her from unpleasant things.
It was to pleasant things they turned—soft little hills not too hard to climb, pleasant valleys and a broad river not far off. At last they sat down by a little river that was playing along to the big river. And there Vivian asked, "What was it you stopped saying at breakfast?"
"Gertrude is a nervous pig," he answered, promptly.
Vivian stared; apparently she thought of saying various things—things indignant and loyal, but instead she dimpled and played the game.
"And what does she eat up?"
He nodded. "Living beautifully is the pig that is eaten."
After enjoying her bewilderment, he explained himself. Gertrude had a beautiful house. Why would one have a beautiful house? Why, that living might be beautiful, of course. But she stopped short at having the beautiful house. She got so nervous having the beautiful house in which one might live beautifully that she quelled the thing in her that could live beautifully, for fear it would squeal, or something of the sort. He lay on the grass and brandished his stick and elaborated on the case of Gertrude, the case of Gertrude which stood between him and himself. He supposed there were lots of Gertrudes. There should be some ugly things in every house—a law about it, if necessary. Then the house beautiful would be an unattainable ideal—and many little pigs would be spared.
"It isn't only Gertrude," he went on, as one who plays with fire, for if he went on long enough there'd be only himself left. "Take Ben," said he, daringly. "'When I make my pile,' says Ben. Then he's going to live. But he's got a pretty good pile already. Is he living? Not unless it's living to make a pile! Why, Ben would run a mile at the idea of living. Ben eats the pigs up as fast as they squeal. Every one does—'most every one. That's why there's so much indigestion."
Beset by the idea that he himself had indigestion, he got up and started briskly for home—as if walking away from something—indeed, quite rudely walking away from Vivian, who followed.
To get away from individual cases—they having a dangerous proximity to a certain individual, he generalized. "And then there are the countries that get so rasped having democracy that they eat up the squealing pigs to which democracy has given birth!"
He turned upon Vivian with suddenly inexplicable anger. "Think of eating up your own thing—the thing it's all for, because you get so rasped getting up to the point where you can have, what it's all for. Isn't it funny?" he demanded of Vivian, who failed to laugh. "It's the great joke on the human race! Getting so worn out getting ready as to exterminate the thing they've been getting ready for. Oh, well," he went on, swinging his stick in a sort of "I should worry" fashion.
Suddenly he turned round, as if to take by surprise. "You thinking about it?" he demanded of Vivian.
"I'm thinking of you," said Vivian.
This infuriated him. "Well, I'm thinking of you," he said, viciously, and stalked on.
"How's your indigestion, Ben?" he inquired, jauntily, of his brother-in-law as he and Vivian came up the steps.
"Never had indigestion in my life," said Ben.
"Don't you believe it!" called Horace from the hall.
"What's the matter with Horace?" he heard Gertrude ask Vivian.
She asked it again after dinner, for as he ate his roast pork Horace mused: "Perhaps eight is too many to have. Six might be better."
"What are you talking about, Horace?" asked Ben.
"He's talking about the pig," said Gertrude.
"No," said Horace, "I'm talking about civilization."
There was a pause. "I think you work too hard, Horace," suggested Gertrude.
"Civilization works too hard," replied Horace. Suddenly he announced, brightly, "War is civilization eating her own little pigs."
"I do wish you'd rest while you're here," said Gertrude, soothingly.
"I'm here to work," he declared with vigor. And so he was!—and work he would! Just to show what he was there for, he'd work that evening—pigs or no pigs! All right—what if Gertrude and Ben were going over to the Logan's? Vivian could sit alone on the veranda. Did he exist in order to sit on a porch with Vivian Truce? If he thought of women at all that night, it would be Hindu women.
But it was queer; a woman would start out to be a Hindu and then turn into Vivian. Very well, then! He would banish Vivian by going out and telling her what he thought of her.
This apparently was just what she wanted him to do, for, picking herself up where he had left her that afternoon, she asked, "When you think about me, what is it you think?"
She had asked it quite simply and directly, but as he stood looking at her she seemed to grow confused. "I mean," she laughed, "what do I eat?"
"It's hard to say," he said, and they sat down, as before an undertaking.
At that he did not at once undertake it. "Nice night," he said.
"It is a nice night," agreed Vivian.
Then they just sat there, and the night went on being nice.
Presently he said, with a dissatisfaction staringly intense, "Feeling itself isn't enough."
"Enough—for what?" asked Vivian, with perhaps righteous exasperation.
"There is feeling that—gets somewhere, and then there is feeling that—goes round and round and takes it out in—being feeling."
"And you think I have the latter?" asked Vivian, after a wait.
He had at least enough gallantry to keep silent.
"I'd like to know how you're so sure of that," she came at him with spirit.
"Oh, it's what all emotional women are like," he told her.
"Is that so?" she challenged.
"I think so," he replied.
"I suppose," said Vivian, witheringly, "that you have had a large experience with emotional women."
He disregarded this. "You see," he said, "first we were apes."
She did not reply, so he looked at her, as if to make sure she was following—not sticking there in a morass of peevishness. "First we were apes," he repeated, giving her another chance.
"So I have been told," said Vivian, icily.
"And you were told right. And it's hard on us. Hard to have that ground-work of the apes we once were and yet to be that—that—"
"That what?" she pinned him down.
"That—what we might be." As he tried to formulate it he was swept into wonder at its beauty. "That thing we might be that has never been. The furthest edge of experience. The furthest reach of consciousness—further than it has ever reached before. The other—that's old stuff. Falling in love—living together, and all that—that's been lived and lived and relived. Well, all right. Suppose it has. That's what living is—reliving what has been lived. That is, in the main it is. But there's the new thing—the ever-extending edge—where we push realizing on a little further than it has ever been before. There's the thing that makes the eternal reliving worth while. To get up to that point where we—go further. What feeling might be is a road, and a road that makes itself as it goes. But is that what most people let it be? No—it's a swamp. A place where you stick. Emotion is a place to hide one's head. You just stay there. A personal experience—a passionate personal experience—it's a limiting thing. It's just something to engage you so you won't try to—realize."
He had been speaking with intensity. "So the poor super-ape," he finished, lightly, "eats that little pig which is the furthest reach of consciousness, and just feels and feels and feels—much too taken up with feeling to do any—realizing."
Vivian got up. She was angry—and quite splendid. "You have certainly made it plain to me," said she, "that you think me vulgar."
It was rather ridiculous not to kiss her. That would be the way of it. Just because he wanted to kiss her, and was determined not to, he told himself it would be the right thing to do—for that, of course, was the easiest way to keep himself from doing it. Oh yes, he speculated, probably a great many men had kissed women just in order not to appear ridiculous. Of course—there might be other reasons. True—there might be. He stood beside Vivian—and it was still a very nice night, and—to tell the truth, he wanted a limiting personal experience so fearfully that—apes must have laughed!
Why didn't Vivian go away? As she was so angry—why didn't she leave, instead of staying there to show how beautiful anger made her? He would have to kiss this beautiful woman who was very angry, this—emotional woman. Make her still more angry and then have all that feeling turn to passion for him, as he had a feeling it was ready to do—as he was so tantalized by suspecting it was ready to do.
A sound broke the night—or Mr. Caldwell's distance from the apes might have been shortened then and there—the sound of the returning motor.
Horace and Vivian continued to stand there. "Well," said Ben, "I suppose you two have been talking about pigs?"
"Apes," said Vivian, in an emotional voice.
"Apes?" repeated Gertrude. "Apes make me nervous. They look too much like us."
"But did you ever think, Gertrude," inquired Horace, "how much we look like them?"
She sighed. So he escaped before she could say he worked too hard.
When he got to his room he looked in the glass—perhaps to see what resemblance he could find. When Mr. Caldwell looked in the glass what regarded him was pleasing. Perhaps the reason most scholars aren't good-looking is that the good-looking ones aren't permitted to be scholars. If you are very good-looking and determined to be a scholar—there is struggle in your life. There was struggle to-night in the life of Horace Caldwell. The reason he had spoken these harsh words about being emotional was, not so much that Vivian was emotional, as that Vivian made him emotional. And he wanted the decks cleared for study and reflection. Marrying Vivian would be eating his eighth little pig. He'd be damned if he would!
He sat down to his books. But he couldn't study—he couldn't study because he was thinking—usually he didn't have that interference. And his thoughts crystallized to this, "Where is your eighth little pig?"
So there he was—right up against himself! He had put Gertrude in between, and Ben, and Vivian—now his pigs had come home to roost—he didn't attempt to keep zoölogy straight. He had been in a rage because Vivian threatened the eighth little pig, but what was he doing to that unfortunate animal?
And after a while he was ready to admit that perhaps no one was as cannibalistic as the men who gave their lives to study. For they dealt with the very stuff out of which the life-sense must be born—and what did they do? They just stuck in a little pocket of learning—put their heads deeper and deeper and deeper in scholarship that there might not be anything of themselves left for—for moments of wonder out of which vision comes—for that greater sensitiveness to life which was man's one chance to justify man. Heads buried in learning as other heads were buried in emotion, or in money-making, or in the house beautiful. And they had the goods, as it were. Here was he studying India—India, of all things!—and instead of this helping him to know what was in his own soul he—why, he just studied India! He was a nice one to talk to any one else! Could frustration of purpose be more ignoble than his?
He went to the window and looked out into the beautiful night. "Well, realize," he said to himself, savagely. He got into a rage—that horrible rage of the thwarted. "Realize—you fool!" He could laugh a little at this—but it wasn't a laugh that helped much. What did he want? This was what he wanted. It was not speaking too highly of himself to say there was in him something of aspiration. He aspired to beauty. To the beauty that might flower from understanding. But, somehow, understanding was sterile. He was very much like the pig—very much indeed. He got so nervous in having it that he wasn't equal to it when it came. And he and the pig weren't' alone in this—more was the pity of it. People got so frazzled by living that they didn't really have life. When they came up to the moments it was all for—they could do nothing but revert to the things which existed in order to bring them up to those moments. In other words, the mechanics of living ate life up. In still other words, stomachs were full of eighth little pigs.
He slept as badly as if his stomach were full of some such thing. He dreamed that Vivian was the queen of a zoo.
She acted a good deal like a queen next day—a displeased queen. She and he and Gertrude had lunch together. Fortunately Gertrude talked a good deal about how to make woodwork look like old ivory. He didn't know why it should look like old ivory, but he was glad some one was talking. Finally Gertrude stopped talking. Vivian did not talk. So he had to. As he couldn't think of any extraneous thing to say, he had to say what he was thinking. He frequently did this—and got blamed for it. Apparently most people didn't do it.
"I suppose," he said, "that we never should have left the trees. It—it's too much for us."
There was a long silence. Silence is really a peculiarly articulate thing. It can make you feel—as words never can-—how you are being disapproved of.
"Horace," said Gertrude, at last, "I don't know whether you really are ill, or whether you are merely trying to rouse apprehensions."
"I'm not trying to rouse apprehensions," he hastened to assure her. "I'm trying to quell them."
He looked at Vivian. Certainly he had quelled nothing—least of all, rage.
About four o'clock he saw her starting alone for the walk they usually had together. She came to the crest of the hill and hesitated. Her hesitation was long. She didn't know whether to visit the pigs or to cut them!
This decision became of tremendous moment to the man who watched. So rapidly did it go on increasing in importance that it was as if his whole life hung upon it. Vivian was beautiful standing there before the poplars—the wind blowing her skirt out to one side as if she were poised to fly. She herself was slim and straight and strong—but lithe—oh, much lither than a tree. And—she was going to visit the little pigs!
He snatched his hat and followed.
He found her at the pigsty. And he found there a scene of contentment good for a spirit fagged by aspiration. The little pigs were sucking. All of them were sucking. They did enjoy it! Some could sit down, but others had to stand up—those which had to reach the upper tier. So they stood on their hind legs, front paws kneading their mother—going it for all they were worth.
He and Vivian looked from the pig family to each other—laughed. No two people could stay cross at each other when seven little pigs were nursing!
Mr. Moon came along. "Well, she's made up her mind to it," said he.
And so she had made up her mind to it. It was a contented mother pig who gave suck to the little pigs. One of them finished his meal and came and played with her snout. She pawed him playfully. She liked her little pigs. There she lay, doing just what she should do, and happier than she could be doing anything else. Perhaps she didn't go quite so far as to make one feel God was in His heaven—but she made one feel that the good old earth was very good indeed.
He and Vivian walked slowly away.
"Vivian," he said, "I've fought a good fight and lost. I'm sorry to say I love you. Will you—you know—marry me—and all that?"
He stopped; his hands were on her shoulders, he looking into her eyes. It wasn't going to matter much what she said. For looking into her eyes—"she had made up her mind to it."
Though with words she resisted. "Marry you?" she choked, "and drag you down into my swamp?"
Feeling took him, then, with great mercifulness—so overwhelmingly that he had nothing to say about it. Vivian in his arms, he kissed her again and again and again—and knew nothing save that he was kissing her. "Yes—drag me there. I— Anything else is too lonely, Vivian. I— It's all right," he assured her, and incoherent things like that.
And it was all right. As they came back over the fields at sunset he had a moment of beauty such as had never been his before—a lift of the spirit—a widening. If he was going to be, for the most part, in a pocket, let it be a pocket of feeling rather than a pocket of learning! It wasn't so ridiculous. And nicer.
Of course, he was probably fooling himself. He wasn't so lost that he couldn't see he was probably fooling himself. But perhaps that was what we had to do!
Anyway, the sun went down and the sky was purple and gold and Vivian moved in a magical light. Things smelled good. A bird was singing.
And the neighbor's pig had eight little pigs. No—seven.